Monday, September 15, 2008

We Won The Lottery!!!

Well, we technically didn't win, but our friends did and gave us all the gold! Each year Denali National Park only allows 400 personal vehicles to travel the entire 97 mile length of the Denali Park Road and they hold a road lottery to determine which 400 get to go. It's outrageous! It costs $10/ ticket and you aren't guaranteed the specific date you request as only 100 cars are allowed each day over a 4-day "weekend." Even if you win, you still have to pay the $45 for the day pass and redeem it by 12pm the day of your lottery winning. But it is WORTH IT!Ben's friends had somehow scored 12 tickets and won 2 passes and invited us to join them for a spectacular journey through one of the most amazing places on earth. I can't imagine enduring that trip the way everyone else has to... by 16-hr-super-expensive-and-crazy-bumpy bus ride. It was nice to have the privacy, comfort and pace of driving our own vehicle. I'm certain that we wouldn't have another chance like this and we took full advantage.
It was incredible, almost like something out of a Dr. Seuss illustration. The bushes were purple, the trees were the most amazing golds and fluorescent greens, and the contrast of the fresh snowfall over the turquoise glaciers and black craggy cliffs were out-of-this-world SPECTACULAR! Photographs never do it justice, and the grand scale of the place is just unbelievable.I love being in places where I feel so small and yet so much a part of everything. The beauty of the wilderness always gives me a sense of connectedness and gratitude for life and the creator of it all. What an amazing experience to share with the family! Well, Kaia may remember it for all the wildlife we saw. But, I am sure that Mekayla just hated being in the car that long. I just hope that I get to bring both my girls back here someday to enjoy it how I enjoyed it.
We started the trip with keeping a wildlife tally in our heads. It didn't take long to discover that paper would be a much better method. At the end of the trip we had the luck of seeing 1 Red Fox, 1 American Beaver, 1 North American Porcupine, 2 Collared Pika, 2.5 Snowshoe Hares (one road kill that was being eaten by ravens to account for the .5), 3 Bald Eagles, 5 Mountain Goats, 6.5 Arctic Ground Squirrels, 8 Moose, 9 Grizzly Bears, 13 Dall Sheep, 18 Caribou and countless unidentifiable birds of prey riding the thermals along the steep mountainsides.

I did get a few wildlife shots, but my zoom isn't powerful enough to tell what is what. For more info and photos of Denali National Park, click here

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Kid Pix

So the fam has been buggin' me for Kid pix. Here are a few to hold yall over till we get to see ya. Here's Kaia, pb face and all.

More fun Kaia. What a sport.

Here's Mekayla's sort-of smile with her little dimple.

Here's a good one of her normal attentiveness and a bit of concern... She is such a serious baby. A big yawn.

Here's the tail end of a little giggle.

Another Owie and Another Sleepless Night

So we had another trip to the Urgent Care center at about 5 o'clock last night. Kaia and I were outside working in the yard and she took off her shoes... a major no-no in our yard... and stepped on a rusty, inch-long, trim staple sticking out of a rotting piece of wood. It's amazing what kind of stuff got stirred up in our landscaping efforts.

Anyway, Kaia is on anti-biotics and we are doing an epson salt soak every few hours to try and draw out the infection... which is impossible to avoid with puncture wounds like these. So far, she is being a trooper and toughing it out. But it is so pathetic to see her scoot or hop around the house trying to avoid putting any pressure on her owie. It looks like she is going to pull through yet another dangerous adventure on mommy's watch.

Onto other news, I can't sleep anymore. I think it started with the frustrations of bedrest and pregnancy, then the newborn demands, but now, I don't know what it is. I know I am tired. I know I am in desperate need of the rest. My body lays down, but my mind just keeps on spinning. Sometimes to a beat and sometimes so rapid-fire that I can't even catch up. I've tried meditation... that is only more and more frustrating as my meditation becomes the base line of my never-ending concert of thoughts. At about 4am I gave up and got some house work done. Of course, by the time I was ready to crash, Kaia was up and demanding immediate attention for her owie.

Poor kids... I'm gonnna try not to be worthless today, but my attempt may be futile.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Day of Doctors

Yesterday was largely spent running around town visiting doctors. First on the agenda was my 6-week check-up where, upon checking in, Kaia spewed chunks all over the lobby carpet. Now, most would see this as a sure sign of a new cold virus, of which I would have no business bringing her into an OB clinic with expecting and new mommies and infants. However, this is far more scary.

On Wednesday afternoon, Kaia climbed up onto the bathroom counter and tried swinging from the hand towel hardware. Of course it broke free from the wall tossing my little 2-year old onto her head... on a tile floor. The crash was sickening and I knew it was going to be serious. I did as every mother would do... examine for signs of trauma. No broken bones, no bleeding, no bruising and no bumps. But a LOT of tears, followed by a lot of whimpering and a very unusual nap, which is all really unlike Kaia.

So, I got scared and decided a more experienced exam should take place to rule out any serious injury. By the time we got to the urgent care center, Kaia seemed back to her normal self. I explained the situation and the doc sent us home with instructions to watch her behavior and bring her back on Thursday.

So with the new development of the vomiting at my doctors office, it was time to return to the urgent care doctor, who sent us to the radiologist, who sent us back to the urgent care doctor. Turns out the CT scan showed no bruising, swelling, tearing or bleeding on her brain... Whew! Such a relief.

Also, today her appetite has returned with a vengeance and no more vomiting... which is FABULOUS! Unfortunately, I think that my little Mekayla may have picked up a little bug at one of these many doctor's offices because she was up EVERY HOUR last night. I am exhausted, but at least everyone is ok.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tis the Political Season

I usually don't get too wrapped up in politics, mostly because nobody on any ticket ever really excited me. Never mind the fact that no matter who or what I vote for, I don't seem to get my way. However, I have been following the presidential candidates with mild interest and did get excited about McCain's surprise pick for running mate.
Sarah Palin is a home-town girl... not to mention a MY-TOWN girl... AND is a woman I can relate to. NOT your typical politician... and certainly not your typical Republican. She has done good things honestly in the state of Alaska and has even taken on some pretty big Republican dynasties of corruption in an "oil state" without batting an eye. I'm sure she isn't perfect, but damn if she isn't getting thrown under the bus!

Quite honestly, I am appalled by the total lack of respect and compassion the media has shown regarding her personal life, which so far, has NOTHING to do with her character or her ability to fulfill the Vice President responsibilities. But what really bothers me is the "shock and awe" attack she is getting from WOMEN on BOTH sides of the political ball field!

I know that not every woman will agree with all of her political choices... in fact, I'm one of them. And, I'm sure that she has made her share of mistakes. But it doesn't take a genius to see that the media is being really unfair to her and her family. I hate to pull out the "woman" card, but there is totally a double standard here that even women appear to be supporting.

Is it jealousy, or just plain self-righteous bitchiness that drives this kind of bitterness? I don't get it. Why can't everyone focus on what matters and stop picking her apart for her perceived "failures" as a mother? Why would anyone, especially women, doubt or even consider her ability to be a professional AND a mother when determining her ability to be Vice President? They didn't ask any other candidate in the history of the country if he could be a professional AND a father!

Don't they know that even full-time-stay-at-home mommies can't manage every decision their children make? Heck, I can't even get my toddler to follow my lead, and I'm still bigger and smarter than she is... well, at least bigger for sure. I just don't see the relevance here.

And, just for the record, that idiot who tried to draw the correlation by asking "Why would we trust her to manage the country when she can't even manage her own family?" obviously NEVER had kids. That guy's an ass!

For more Palin info go to her official Bio or this latest press release